After stupendous success at the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games, top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth made positive starts to their campaign at the Asia Badminton Championship on Wednesday.
While Saina and Sindhu registered straight game victories over their respective rivals to enter the second round, Srikanth had to fight it out in his men’s singles opener.
Saina, who had clinched a gold medal at Gold Coast, continued her good run as she brushed aside Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min 21-12 21-9 while Sindhu, who had lost to Saina in the CWG final to settle for the silver, defeated Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po 21-14 21-19 in women’s singles competition.
Former world no 1 Saina will meet China’s Gao Fangjie, while Olympic and world championship silver medallist Sindhu, seeded third, faces another Chinese Chen Xiaoxin next.
Top seed and CWG silver medallist Srikanth eked out a come-from-behind 13-21 21-16 21-16 win over Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in men’s singles to set up a clash with Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent.
However, Sameer Verma’s fight against seventh seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei ended with a 21-23 17-21 loss.
The men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok and women’s combo of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram too joined the singles stars in the second round after pulling off thrilling wins in the opening round.
Arjun and Ramchandran had to dig deep into their reservoir before seeing off World championship quarterfinalists Chung Eui Seok and Kim Dukyoung of Korea 25-23 23-21, while Meghana and Poorvisha held their nerves in pressure situations to beat Singapore’s Ong Ren-Ne and Wong Jia Ying Crystal 14-21 22-20 21-17 in a women’s doubles encounter.
However, mixed doubles pair of Saurabh Sharma and Anoushka Parikh lost 17-21 14-21 to Korean combo of Kim Won Ho and Shin Seung Chan.
Another Indian pair of Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan also crashed out after losing 11-21 13-21 to Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei Reginald and Chau Hoi Wah.